Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Joy of Gardening

Last year was Spokane's snowiest winter on record. I am glad that it is now just a memory. And very happy to see that Lola's Garden survived with just a few casualties. The two-year-old butterfly bush, the brunnera, and the pink rose are gone. But guess who were showing off their hardiness last month?

After being buried in a few feet of snow for the longest time, the tulips and the daffodils were blooming with a vengeance. The blooms were so big and so many, I almost could not believe my eyes when I counted 32 colorful tulip blooms in one plant. Maybe the snow have actually nourished the bulbs, and protected them from the below freezing temperature; while they were busy dividing and reproducing in their sleep. I remember planting them in groups of five bulbs just three years ago.

There is something magical about the flowers that bloom so brightly and cheerfully in my garden. They seem to whisper "Pick me. I'll make someone happy." And they make me feel almost giddy when I pick them for someone special. Sometimes I wonder why cut flowers don't lost their magic.

I decided to give the first bouquet to a very special friend whose gardening days have expired many years ago; hoping it will bring back some fond memories. The joy of gardening, is one of the many memories that last long after the muscles and bones surrendered to old age.

Her hands looked achy and stiff, but when she opened two large drawers to reveal a new collection of fabrics and yarns, we both laughed. These are the precious little thing she lost and became just memories when she was living in the nursing home for more than a year. Moving up to an assisted living facility brought back her desire to contribute, and to remain a productive member of our society. Like the tulips in my garden, she is once again showing her hardiness. Quilting and crocheting happily as her body allows. Unlike independent living, she no longer have a kitchen. Still she keep on making dish cloths out of 100% cotton yarns.

I came home with a hand crocheted yellow dish cloth and a spirit brighter than the spring flowers that inspired me to visit a friend. The flowers did its job and made someone happy. But at the end of the day, that someone was me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

About Lola's Garden

Established in 2006, Lola's Garden is a very diversified, densely and informally planted cottage-style garden. It was once a homely yard with nothing but a few old and deformed shrubs, a sad contrast to the neighbor's beautifully designed and meticulously maintained garden. His is a garden that makes people who see it feel good, inspired, and incredibly optimistic. And I was inspired enough to buy the homely place, and proudly called it home.

A six-foot-tall, barn-red fence enclosed the property all the way to the sidewalk. My husband moved the fence closer to the house, tweaked the top with his jigsaw, and turned it into a more decorative white fence. My collection of perennials and flowering annuals grows happily, sometime wildly and competitively, inside and outside the fence. Last year, the flowering tobacco plants grew so wild, I thought it swallowed the eggplant alive. But after the first killing frost froze it back to the ground, the eggplant revealed half a dozen blue-ribbon size fruits that were then too old for the frying pan.

Lola's Garden at the TIEG Garden Expo in Spokane, Washington is where I sell the result of my uncontrolled seed shopping and propagating. A 10x12 HF greenhouse made it possible to grow strong and healthy plants early in the spring regardless of the weather. It is also the outlet for my handcrafted earth-friendly garden accessories and decor. It is held annually the second Saturday in May at the Spokane Community College, and is the biggest gardening event in Eastern Washington. The event is free to visitors. Many thanks to TIEG volunteers who made it possible.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you'll come again to see what's going on in Lola's Garden.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln